As I sit back in the Sports Editor’s chair looking across the newsroom, it hit me that my journey here at the University of Memphis is coming to an end. No longer will I find myself doing the day-to-day college student things: going to classes, studying for exams and searching for parking spots around campus. Those days are now behind me, but what lies ahead is a future that seems bright with endless possibilities. I’d be lying if I told you I am not afraid.
That is the great thing about life. You never know what is around the corner, so in moments like these, it is OK to be unsure and afraid. That is the message I would like to leave for not only my reporters — Ryan Brown, Raven Moore, Frank Ramirez, Reggie Reed, Jacob Rice and Zach Thompson — but also to everyone that is reading this. It is OK to be afraid, but don’t let that stop you from being great.
I want to recognize my team because you all made my job easy.
Ryan Brown, I love your energy and your passion and hope you have nothing but success. I want you to keep your faith and your head high despite everything.
Raven Moore, I love your fire and admire your knowledge of every sport you cover. I want you to remain confident, never back down and always rise up against adversity.
Frank Ramirez, I love you bro. Es mi compa. You are so chill, yet so smart and great at everything you do. There was never a time that I couldn’t call you and you weren’t there and being clutch.
Zach Thompson, I call you the basketball wizard because you know everything about the game. I want you, just like Ryan, not to allow certain circumstances to get in the way of your greatness.
Jacob Rice, you are my annoying brother I love to see every day of the week. I want you to always remain the same and never allow anyone to change you.
Reggie Reed, I admire your growth and am glad that you finally joined the paper. It is crazy seeing you flourish in real time. I always wanted a little brother and sometimes gave that title to the wrong people, but I gained a little brother in you for real. One day, very soon, I will be sitting next to you on the TV.
When I first went off to college at Northern Illinois University and prioritized partying and skipping class just because, I failed out I was afraid of what would happen next but I persevered. I had my son out of wedlock and went through a lot of drama with his mother when I was very young. I was afraid, but I persevered. I stepped out on faith and went back to school in Milwaukee and transferred here to the University of Memphis. I was afraid, but here I am graduating.
The point that I am making is it’s OK to be unsure about what may lie ahead, but go out there and be confident in yourself and make it happen.
I say this to all the aspiring journalists that are here in the newsroom and the departments as a whole: Dream big and go hard. It is OK to stumble, fall or even fail, but it is how you react to it that makes you a stronger person. I was thrown a lot of hardballs in life, some self-inflicted, but when the chips were down, I had to pick myself up and make it happen.
Now I’m graduating and still learning this thing called life, but slowly but surely figuring it out.
I now would like to leave you, the readers, with some advice before I depart.
In the words of Mr. Feeney from my favorite show “Boy Meets World,” “Believe in yourselves. Dream. Try. Do good.” Sometimes we overthink things and we should not. Just live your life and learn from those mistakes and make the best of it. That is what I have learned over the years.
The second thing I would tell you all is never let some one tell you this industry is dying or journalism is dead. It is not. The business is changing, and that can be said about just about everything. However, there are people who still want to know the truth, so despite the fact that times are changing do not be discouraged.
My final piece of advice would be that it is okay to be afraid and unsure of what is to come, but take it head-on and make the best of it. Then, and only then, will you conquer this thing we call life. I’ll end my story with a quote from the man that inspired me to get into the journalism, though I never got a chance to meet him. I still recall watching him every weekday at 5 p.m.
“I hope it goes without saying that a journalist who doesn’t deeply values the audiences’ loyalty should be in another line of work,” Peter Jennings said.